Recently the NHK News on-line reported the following:
On the 7th, which was the "Northern Territories Day", Prime Minister Noda greeted the convention that was asking for the return of the Northern Territories; and he emphasized the idea of advancing negotiation with Russia tenaciously towards a solution to this territorial problem.
The "Northern Territories Day" had connection with the conclusion of the treaty which made the four islands off Hokkaido the territory of Japan on February 7, A.D. 1855; and original inhabitants were present in this national conference held every year that asked for the return of the four islands.
In the convention held on the 7th, Prime Minister Noda, regarding the present relationship between Japan and Russia said that "in the summit meeting last year I had reconfirmed with President Medvedev on the the importance of the need to solve the problem, and we were in agreement to continue the meetings, and to respect the partnership of each other. A new government would be born in Russia in May, and the Asia-Pacific region would have changing strategic environment; Japan-Russia relationship would be tinged with new importance".
Regarding the posture in face of the Northern Territories negotiation it was said that "negotiation is tenaciously advanced with relentlessly strong will in accordance with the basic policy of concluding a peace treaty, finally the problem attributed to the four islands off Hokkaido would be solved. The territorial problem is the problem of the entire people and it is important that the government and the people should join together to achieve progress."
The Northern Territories is always a sensitive topic for the Japanese government that needs wisdom to handle.